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Lakeside Cottage    by Susan Wiggs order for
Lakeside Cottage
by Susan Wiggs
Order:  USA  Can
Mira, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Kate Livingston is not terribly surprised when she is let go from her job as weekly fashion writer for a Seattle newspaper. Her editor and co-workers didn't approve of the way she always put her child's welfare first. As the single mother of a son with anger management issues, Kate's first priority has always been Aaron. Now, spending the summer at her family's lakeside cottage in Lake Crescent, Washington, seems the perfect way to get back in touch with her son - and with herself.

Paramedic JD Harris is determined to distance himself from the relentless attention his heroic act precipitated. Overnight he became a national hero and the focus of intense media scrutiny. When his best friend offers him the use of his secluded summer cottage, JD jumps at the chance for solitude and to get his old life back. What he doesn't expect is the bond he forges with neighbour, Kate Livingston, her son, and a troubled teenaged runaway named Callie. Callie is just looking for a family she can call her own, and who won't judge her.

Susan Wiggs creates a perfect summer atmosphere in a story which is rich in detail. Underneath this idyllic perfection is a cast of fully realized characters whose personal interplay and human fears, misgivings, and hopes are realistic, and vintage Wiggs. JD can't resist Kate's warmth and openness, or her troubled son, who's desperately looking for a father figure. And Kate wants much more from JD than a summer fling.

But can a man with such severe trust issues ever give her the commitment she craves? This is where Wiggs makes a strong comment about the overzealous media and their single-minded determination to get the story no matter the cost. She also presents a strong theme that suggests that a family bond can be forged outside the traditional context. Pick up a copy of Lakeside Cottage; it's a heartwarming and very readable story.

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